Wenban-Smith, Francis, Bates, M., Bridgland, D., Marshall, G. and Schwenninger, J.-L.
The Pleistocene sequence at Priory Bay, Isle of Wight (SZ 635 900).
Briant, R.M., Bates, R.M., Hosfield, R.T. and Wenban-Smith, F.F. (eds.)
The Quaternary of the Solent Basin and West Sussex Raised Beaches: Field Guide.
Field Meeting of the Quaternary Research Association
Quaternary Research Association.
The Pleistocene sequence at the cliff-top of Priory Bay is almost certainly the source of the substantial artefact collections made on the beach throughout the 20th century. The artefact-bearing sequence has not only been identified with high confidence, but it has been shown to represent hominin occupation over a prolonged period of the Middle Pleistocene, although of course not necessarily continuously. The sequence includes at least two horizons with mint condition material that may represent undisturbed palaeo-landsurfaces. Artefacts are present throughout most of the sequence, but the main artefact-bearing horizon is tentatively dated to MIS 9. The deposits containing the artefacts are of uncertain, but limited, extent, and are imminently threatened by erosion. They occur at the top of a landslip zone with marine action steadily making incursions at the base, and which last slipped 30–40 years ago, suggesting another slumping event may be imminent. Further work would be desirable to: (a) clarify the extent of the artefact-bearing sediments and whether, and how many, undisturbed horizons are present; (b) determine the geometry of the beds identified at Areas 1 and 2, and clarify the correlations between the sequences at these two areas; and (c) carry out more substantive investigations of the archaeological remains within the deposits to mitigate the impact of the likely imminent cliff collapse. It is also important, if possible, to try and resolve the conflicting interpretations over whether the basal gravel at Area 1 (bed III-A) is a fluvial or a raised beach deposit
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